Author: Dinah Fried
For as long as I’ve been a reader — that is, as long as I can remember — I’ve felt a strong connection between books and food. From the perfect pastel ice-cream cones enjoyed on a summer’s day by Babar the Elephant and his family to the wickedly mysterious cubes of Turkish Delight perched on the glistening snow of Narnia, food has the power to anchor magical settings in reality by reminding us of the appetites we share with even the most uncommon characters. And, of course, there’s the pleasure of eating along with your favorite characters (or, alternately, the noshenfreude of snacking on something delicious while reading about the awful travel rations that heroes on quests usually get stuck with). In Fictitious Dishes, Dinah Fried channels those foodie feelings by photographing 50 famous literary meals.
Dishes has a very simple layout: for each two-page spread, the left side includes the title of the book, a tiny illustration relating to the book (don’t overlook these, they’re clever and charmingly done), and a short passage describing the meal in question, along with a few bits of random trivia. The right side is a full-page photo of Fried’s recreation of the food, often involving backgrounds and props that reference the source book. Some are mouth-wateringly appetizing or beautifully lavish, but others are starkly simple or downright off-putting, like the pile of rotting food that represents The Metamorphosis.